Game Takes: Flames 3 Oilers 2

March 31st, 2018 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Mike Smith put it well; “It’s nice to play a meaningful game”, when he spoke to HNIC after turning aside an Oiler assault to pick up a 3-2 win on Saturday night.

Take from a guy writing game stories, … ditto. It’s nice to have something to write about.

This one wasn’t a Picasso from the Flames perspective. They turned a brutal start into a red hot first period and then pretty much sat on it, relying on Mike Smith to steer the game home and snap a seven game losings streak.

And back to back wins over the Oilers. In a season without a whole lot of happiness you have to hang your hat on something!

Pity the Foo?

Spencer Foo makes his first appearance in an NHL uniform and I have to admit I was impressed. The kid has a good nose for the offensive side of the game, is tough on the puck, and also aware enough to find his man in the defensive zone.

He didn’t get a point, but he came oh so close to a tap in goal if a pass across from Nick Shore didn’t hit a fallen stick. Shame.

His final stats were 12:45 of ice time, one shot, two hits, even, a giveaway and a takeaway.

He’s an option going forward.

Smith Bobble

When the Flames acquired Mike Smith there was talk about how much wear and tear he’d save on the vaunted Calgary defense, a variable that had to be measured against the five goals he’s completely giveaway through the season.

Tonight a puck stop behind the net followed by a weak backhander to Kassian who centered it to Slepyshev who slid it into the empty night.

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have …

All good, he’d be a factor later.

Chasing Talbot

Three goals on seven shots and the Oiler’s starter is done for the night.

Little did the Oilers know that no goalie would be needed the rest of the way! Al Montoya faced 13 more shots and stopped them all in relief as the Flames were pretty happy to let their goaltender take the game the rest of the way.

Hamilton Back On Top

Calgary gets on the board after a rough givewaway goal, challenge and then a penalty kill on the challenge failure, with the momentum from the kill leading to the Mikael Backlund set up of Dougie Hamilton for his 17th of the season.

The goal moves him back to the top of the heap for NHL defensemen in terms of goal scoring, one head of Ekblad.


I know I’m not alone in questioning deployment all season when it comes to Glen Gulutzan. Why was Matt Bartkowski killing not one but two Oiler penalties in the third period in a one goal lead? That makes little sense.

Additionally, when you’ve killed the penalty off why is Tanner Glass on the ice for the first shift five on five? And no I’m not referring to the shift where Glass fought Lucic, that came later.

Smith Standing Up

Say what you will about Mike Smith’s play down the stretch, the guy cares. A lot.

The Oilers scored two goals tonight, one on a Smith gaff from behind the net, the other from a fluke tip by Mike Cammalleri in front of the net. Neither were good goals featuring a skilled player beating a goaltender. This in a game where the Oilers out shot the Flames 36-20 and pretty much owned the play for the final 40 minutes.

Additionally, Smith was quick to come to the defence of his captain when Milan Lucic slashed Mark Giordano on a powerplay, leaving Smith to whack him back and then shove the Oiler winger again starting a melee that resulted in three Lucic punches to Smith’s cage.

The guy’s a warrior, I hope the Flames get their crap together next season and take this guy on a run.

Tanner Glass Steps Up Too

Answering Smith’s battle with Lucic was Tanner Glass, a guy several weight classes under Lucic in the NHL fighter pecking order.

Truthfully he got his face filled in, as Lucic landed an early right cutting Glass, and then eventually wrested him to the ground for the win. The best was the sportsmanship of both players to tap each other on the sleeve after the bout suggesting mutual respect.

Say what you will about Tanner Glass the hockey player, the guy is a teammate.

Standings Watch

The win moved the Flames back in front of the Carolina Hurricanes, meaning the Islander first overall pick odds fell back to 2.5%. Give thanks for small victories right?

Fancy Stats

The Oilers had the play for most of the night with the Flames sitting on that 3-1 first period lead. Edmonton had 57% of the shot attempts with splits of 43 /77 / and 33%. High danger scoring chances were actually 6-4 for the Flames five on five but 11-6 Edmonton in all situations.

Individually, the Flames were led by Nick Shore at 59%, followed by Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau who were all on the positive side of the break even point. The third line got crushed as all of Micheal Ferland, Mark Jankowski and Sam Bennett all finished under 20%.


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